Help Needed for Achievable Goal - Recovering Windows Vista

I joined this forum primarily for the purpose of mending my Sony Vaio VGN-EZ140E, which I've owned for eleven months now. I'll brief the readers on my situation:

For eleven months, the Vaio worked smoothly. One day a few weeks ago, when I restarted it, it did something unexpected and sudden - it failed to read its own hard drive, and begged of me the ability to read it. Obviously, I wasn't about to give in, for I knew there was an issue. With a three-year warranty at Best Buy in hand, I took my indisposed notebook to my local Best Buy, where I was so sure it could be mended by the renowned Geek Squad. A few days later, when I came to scoop it from their arms, they informed me of the issue at stake - the copy of XP Professional I had lent them (in the hopes of escaping the matrix that is Vista and returning to XP paradise) was no good in mending my machine and they recommended that I ask of Sony a copy of the Vista Restore disk, x86 version. . .

. . .Due to my being a computer savvy guy, I decided to find the site such that the readers are on at this moment to find a torrent-linked iso of the Vista restore disk I needed, along with the x64 version. I put a copy of each on its own DVD (burned the iso's via Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 and Magic ISO-Maker) in the hopes of saving my Vaio one way or the other. After trying both on the machine, the following issues arise: "Failed to locate 'install.wim,'" cannot do a startup repair, cannot verify your Vista key (a valid key, located on a sticker on the bottom of the Vaio), cannot find any system restore points (understandable so, since the Geek Squad replaced my old hard drive with a 320-GB hard drive that was previously unused, at no charge), etc. Also, I checked the MD5 for the x86 version of the NeoSmart copy of the Vista restore disk, and it matches that of the iso file I used for my attempt to salvage a Vista machine.

My question to the readers is this: What does one do in such a situation? I have to have this laptop ready for my next year in college, and I'm running out of time - I'm hoping to have the Vaio operational again by the 16 July (Typing this thread via sister's laptop). I've been working at mending this Vaio for hours upon hours upon hours now, and I'm nearly worn-out. What do you suggest I do to mend my Vaio?
Hi Darcinator, welcome to NST.
The ISO downloads hosted here are provided for OEM users whose vendors didn't provide them with a bootable Vista DVD, but a recovery partition. If your boot process breaks, you need to be able to repair it to access even the recovery partition sometimes, and that's what the disk will do.
It doesn't however contain any Vista installation files, so can't be used to get your Vista back from scratch.
What the geeks were advising you to do was to get a bootable full recovery disk from Sony, to be able to completely reinstate the factory condition of the Vaio.
Provided you aren't already using the XP pro serial on another PC, there's no reason why you shouldn't just install XP from scratch on your Vaio, by just doing a format and clean install using the serial on the CD. But you've paid for Vista already, so don't waste your money by ignoring it. Get a fresh copy of the recovery media from Sony. They might try to charge you a nominal fee, but if you're still in waranty, you should be able to badger them into a free copy anyway, then at least you've got the option of Vista in the future if you change your mind (or if your XP serial is already registered as in use)
Ah I see what you're saying, Terry60. I had previously believed that the provided vista restore iso's from this site were capable of rebooting Vista entirely, so to speak. Therefore, all I can do is contact Sony about a fully-bootable restore disk for Vista. I'll give Sony a ring asap - hopefully, they ship fast. Thanks for the tip.